Archive for the ‘Crime and Punishment’ Category

Lags and Thugs and Helping Souls

May 4, 2015
Nepal Earthquake

It Takes a Criminal

The earthquake in Nepal is a truly horrific natural disaster. One of many we have seen around the world and with climate change taking hold, we can only expect more extreme events to come.

As a country we’ve already pledged something like 5 million pounds in aid which is a help but there is a way we could do more and at the same time benefit ourselves – the two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive and there’s nothing wrong with doing it.

All it needs is a bit of joined up thinking and some backbone from politicians.

Pledging money is fine although I don’t know or trust how much will be delivered and in the case of some countries, how much will reach it’s intended recipients. What they need is help on the ground, people who can move rubble, tend the sick and injured, even help to rebuild.

What if we could have teams on standby who could be flown out to disaster zones at short notice, not just leaving it to charities and NGO’s.

The UK prison population is a bit shy of 90,000 people at the moment and among them will be people with the skills needed, people who, let’s face it, have time on their hands. How about we offer them the chance to be on standby so when one of these disasters occurs, they can be pretty quickly organised and on planes, taking the aid on the same flights.

The benefit for the country receiving help is obvious but at the same time we’d be saving money in the prison service. We tend to think all prisoners are simply bad people but this isn’t the case. There will be a large percentage who have just made mistakes they regret or been in situations they didn’t want to be in and don’t want to be in again and could see this as a way to make amends.

For those who might be career criminals, this is an opportunity to get away from prison life which could have unexpected results. I’ve been to what we would class as third world countries, not to disaster zones and not in the poorest areas admittedly but I’ve seen enough to totally change my outlook and I’m pretty sure this would be the case for a lot of people – if it’s not then they are probably beyond help but those who are open to it could learn skills that would be useful in the outside world and have something different to put on their CV’s. So another benefit for us would be less re-offending.

It would have to be totally voluntary and they would have to agree to sign off from being able to claim for injurys, disease and accidents but I’d imagine that is the case for aid workers anyway. There will be details that need working on ie how many times can a prisoner volunteer, logistics, who is excluded etc but at least it’s a starting point.

This might sound radical but then many things we take for granted today probably seemed radical in their time … the NHS, the benefits system, votes for women etc.

This can’t be a replacement for overseas aid, it’s just a way to help with unforseen disasters which I would hope would be copied by other countries …. and there’s another benefit for us, we’re seen as a force for good for once.

Git From Bar Grilled My Hamster

March 8, 2013
Animal Cruelty

Animal Cruelty

What punishment should you give to someone sick enough to cook a hamster?

James White, a 21 year old student was banned from keeping animals for 8 years, got ordered to pay £1000 costs and do 120 hours unpaid work.

He avoided prison because the animal was dead when he started to cook it. Trouble is he still caused it to have the heart attack that did kill it so that should be treated as an equivalent to manslaughter … animslaughter?

As a student I doubt he will have the £1000 to pay his fine and he doesn’t exactly seem an animal lover so being banned from keeping them probably won’t bother him – the ban won’t extend to his family or, presumably, anyone he lives with.

But surely the judge could have ordered that his unpaid work go toward helping animals?

White claimed that he was drunk at the time –  come on, we’ve all had a few too many and done stupid things but just how sick does your brain have to be to do something like that?

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

November 8, 2012
Phillip Schofield

Phillip Schofield

Phillip Schofield may have revealed the names of senior tories – accidently or not – on TV this morning.

Cameron warns against a witch-hunt and MP Rob Wilson writes a letter to ITV complaining.

What they haven’t done is seem concerned about what happened and give any reassurance that there will be any sort of public enquiry.

Because there needs to be an open, honest, transparent (remember that word Dave) enquiry with a guarantee that whoever is involved will be brought to justice. Not just made to resign but prosecuted and imprisoned.

That includes celebrities and politicians, in fact specially in the case of politicians.

Right to Protest

October 19, 2012
Trenton Oldfield

Trenton Oldfield

So Trenton Oldfield has been sentenced to 6 months in prison for carrying out the protest that stopped the Boat Race earlier this year.

To be honest, it wasn’t a great protest because no one really knew what he was protesting about until after the event.

But isn’t it interesting to see how the establishment protect their own?

After all, it was a peaceful protest, the only person in any danger was him – and a political protest, which is supposedly allowed in this country.

The trouble is, Trenton targetted a posh boys’ race – even if the competitors themselves aren’t part of the 1%, it’s what the whole Oxford/Cambridge thing represents that was his point.

So the establishment closes rank and we have a jailed political prisoner, aligning us with the likes of China. Not on such a scale … yet.  But how do we know this won’t be the first of many?

The message is obvious. If you want to protest about something, do it among your own kind – you can burn, assault and rob them without fear of imprisonment.

The juge also said that protest had never achieved anything which either shows a total lack of knowlegde or was a statement of wishful thinking about the future.

Let’s hope that wish doesn’t come true.

A Robber By Any Other Name

June 29, 2012
Stand & Deliver

Stand & Deliver

Remember when highwaymen used to wear masks …. then get punished for robbery.

It’s all different now. The robbers sit in board meetings and get rewarded for it.

Mervyn King has today criticised the culture of banking that has led to all the lying, cheating and, let’s face it, outright theft that has been gong on in banking for years (a lot of it while he was in charge).

There are calls for the banks to get heavily fined but that just means the people who suffered are the ones who foot the bill because the costs of the fines will be passed on to customers.

The fines should be paid directly by those in charge when it happened not us as customers or, in the case of RBS, shareholders.

The highwaymen were usually hanged for their crimes and I’m not saying that’s what should happen to the bankers but they should be hung out to dry.

I Am The Law!

March 2, 2012

Smiley Happy Police Force?Really worrying story in The Guardian HERE

Not satisfied with privatising the prison service it seems that policing in general is up for corporate grabs.

And they’re not only talking about back office functions like office and phone duties, this list includes “investigating crimes, detaining suspects, developing cases, responding to and investigating incidents, supporting victims and witnesses, managing high-risk individuals, patrolling neighbourhoods, managing intelligence, managing engagement with the public”.

It’s bad enough that most of us don’t trust or respect the real police but at least there is some accountability and transparency. What will happen when private companies are involved?

Once they have the contract they will no doubt be targetted but on what basis will that be done? Number of crimes solved, number of arrests, or more likely the financial value of the case?

So what will happen when calls comes in at the same time for an old lady who has been mugged and a bank robbed? Well,I think it’s obvious. Granny will be left in a pool of blood while the helicopter and the armed response unit will be at the bank.

This will be a golden opportunity for the rich and powerful to restrict our freedoms even further. Only this time they won’t only have the backing of the law … they will be the law.

Financial Discrimination

November 9, 2011
Never in the field of human economy was so much paid by so many for so few.

Financial Discrimination

Over the years we have worked to end discrimination based on race, religion, sexual alignment and gender. On the whole, the UK has been pretty successful and although there is arguably more to do, we are at least heading in the right direction.

However, there is one form of discrimination you won’t hear any Government even mention, let alone try to put a stop to. In fact it is positively encouraged.

Financial Discriminataion

I’m not talking about some people being better off than others, that will always be the case and I don’t have a problem with people aiming to improve their lives .

But Financial Discrimination is endemic in our culture.

In fact we are already aware of it but we give it different names – like inequality or unfairness. Financial Discrimination is so deeply ingrained in our world that subconsciously we can’t believe it will ever go away and like little children we cry “it’s unfair” then get on with our lives like nothing happened.

Financial Discrimination allows the super-rich to employ expensive accountants who can ‘use’ flaws in our tax laws to avoid paying millions in tax while the ordinary person is taxed at source via PAYE or has to complete forms that even the rule-makers don’t understand .

Financial Discrimination means that if you are rich and powerful, you can pay for an expensive barrister to get you off a charge on a technicality where the average person would be convicted (think footballers getting off drink/drive charges that would ruin the lives of Mr Average with a ban).

And on the subject of footballers, remember when a premier player’s home was broken into (Stephen Gerrard’s I think) and his wife threatened – there was a police officer on the main gate, officers scouring the grounds and a helicopter monitoring overhead. I  can’t imagine that kind of response if I got burgled.

And there is the underlying problem … with Financial Discrimination, a crime is treated as more serious based on the monetary value, not the impact on the victim.

Your status in society is based not on what you put in but on what you take out.

And this is why we have a country run by a ruling elite, not of those elected by us but, with their complicity, the few (the 1% ?) who manipulate the system at all levels so that they can increase their wealth and power at the expense of the majority.

To paraphrase Churchill – Never in the field of human economy was so much paid by so many for so few.

Legal system on trial.

June 26, 2011
Milly Dowler

Milly Dowler

Milly Dowler, as we all know, was murdered by Levi Bellfield and after the disgraceful treatment of her family since, the local police chief has been publicly saying that there needs to be a change to the way victim’s familys are treated by defence lawyers.

He’s right of course – the police would be expected to  investigate those around Milly but their treatment of the family was hardly good. The father was publicly treated as a suspect when there was no evidence (how could there have been, he didn’t do it?).

There’s also the matter of the slap-happy investigation that allowed Bellfield to murder 2 other women in the two and a half years it took to catch him, despite him being known to the police and living on Milly’s route home.

The judge should also take responsibility for allowing the questioning by the defence which included details of the father’s sex life – the father wasn’t on trial so this had absolutely no bearing (if a preference for kinky sex is an indication of murderous tendencies, all murder investigations would start in the House of Commons and judges chambers).

And dragging up details such as Milly feeling less important to her parents than her sister and having suicidal leanings was also irrelevant – Bellfield was charged with murdering her and the facts surrounding the crime are all that should have been addressed. Apparently jurors aren’t allowed to research defendants online but they are allowed to know every little details of victim’s families.

But solicitors and barristers, and by extension judges, care more about the money than justice for victims and their families.

It was really refreshing to hear the family speak outside court saying that they wished only the worst for Bellfield – I hope he suffers physically and mentally but of course he will be protected while they try to rehabilitate him.

Some people are beyond rehabilitation and without the option of a death penalty Bellfield should be just about kept alive (but no wasteful suicide watch please, let him do us a favour if he wants to) until he dies, hopefully slowly and painfully.

That’s the least he could do for the victim’sand their families.

MP Guilty til Proven Innocent

June 11, 2011
Andrew Bridgen

Andrew Bridgen

I’m not often one to show support for an MP from any side but Andrew Bridgen has been accused of some sort of improper behaviour  with a young lady … very publicly accused.

He says he didn’t do anything and that he is the victim of a hate campaign – a hate campaign against an MP, who’d have thought it.

The problem is that the lady in question can’t be named so I don’t see that he should unless the case goes to court.

If he is proved to have committed a crime I’ll be glad to see him do time – but if it isn’t true I hope the lady will get the same amount of publicity and a sentence equal to what he would have got.

If it’s proved to be part of a hate campaign, those behind such lies should also be looking out from behind prison bars.

P for Parking Rip-Off Pt 2 – Justice!

May 27, 2011
Parking Sign

P for Payday.

Following on from my original post we got some good news today.

Mrs Aaaaargh appealed the Council’s decision and the Adjudacator has found in her favour.

The council now has to repay the original fine.

All well and good but this does confirm that she was wrongly found guilty without trial by a council who have had her money in their bank for 2 months – it’ll be interesting to see how quickly that gets repaid.

It also begs the question of how much this has cost the council for the sake of 10 pence – I feel a Freedom of Information request coming on.

What it does prove though, is it is worth taking the time to challenge decisions councils make.